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palm off

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English

Etymology

Palming” an object (as in a playing card) is a type of sleight of hand, secretly removing the desired article and leaving only the undesired one.

Verb

to palm off

  1. (idiomatic) to sell or dispose of (something) with the intent to deceive; to attempt to pass off a counterfeit or inferior product as genuine.
    • 1871, Mark Twain, Journalism In Tennessee, [1] or [2]
    The inveterate liars of the Semi-Weekly Earthquake are evidently endeavoring to palm off upon a noble and chivalrous people another of their vile and brutal falsehoods...
    ...the old mangy parcel he sent at Xmas a cottage cake and a bottle of hogwash he tried to palm off as claret that he couldnt get anyone to drink...
    • 1963, United States Code Annotated [3]
    (p.359) ...no one is to be allowed fraudulently to palm off upon the public his goods as those of another.
    (p.379) It is a fundamental rule that one man has no right to palm off his goods for sale as goods of a rival dealer...

Usage notes

Sometimes appears as pawn off, though this is frequently proscribed as an error.[1][2] Some dictionaries have begun to recognize this form, and some have noted that the phrase pawn upon even predates palm off.[3][4] Often, pawn off differs slightly in meaning, not carrying the same connotations of trickery as palm off.[5]

Synonyms

Translations

References

  • Notes:
  1. ^ Paul Brians, Common Errors in English Usage
  2. ^ "Pawn" at the Eggcorn Database
  3. ^ Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, p722
  4. ^ Christine Ammer, The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms, p493
  5. ^ David Olsen, The Words You Should Know, p101

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